For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10
Mr. Mick Onnen is the previous president of Lutheran Hour Ministries. During his presidency, and afterwards, he has written weekly devotions and fielded prayer requests for the leadership of LHM. With his permission, and only the most minor of changes, his sensitive and insightful devotion is shared with you. Pastor Klaus
Our son and his family visited over the weekend.
Three-year-old Avery was pretending he was Peter Pan, and of course, he assigned character names to the rest of us. His mom was Wendy; Grandma Nila was Tinker Bell and, of course, Grandpa Mick was ... Captain Hook. (Usually his dad gets to be Captain Hook, but he wanted to include me in his game.)
So, as the characters unfold in Avery's story, Grandma Nila asked Avery, "So, is Captain Hook good or is he bad?"
Avery was quick to say, "Oh, Captain Hook is bad!"
"Well, tell me what makes Captain Hook so bad?" asked Grandma Nila.
In his matter-of-fact and child-like honesty, Avery said, "Well, God hasn't changed his heart yet."
God hasn't changed his heart yet!
What a profound theological statement from a three-year old. You know, we spend hours talking, training and practicing our witnessing skills to say just the right things to introduce people to Jesus. We sometimes feel like failures when we've worked hard to convert a friend or acquaintance who needs to receive His Savior.
What we sometimes forget is that all our efforts don't change hearts. We can tell the story, but only the Holy Spirit can change hearts. St. Paul tells us that in 1Corinthians 2:14 -- "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."
Further on in that book Paul emphasizes our dependence upon the Holy Spirit when he says, "no one can say, 'Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:3b).
So, as God's witnesses, we continue to share the Gospel with those God places on our daily path. At the same time we remember it is the Spirit who works faith in the hearts of the people, not us. We are simply blessed to be God's instruments.
THE PRAYER: Lord, we pray that You would empower us to speak boldly about our Savior and the salvation which he has won for us on Calvary's Cross. May we always be willing servants and never troublesome obstructions to the sharing of the Gospel. This we ask in our Savior's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries